Lasix Study Produces Unexpected Results

Dec 16, 2013

A new study released Monday by Breeders' Cup officials has complicated the question of whether the drug Lasix helps or hurts racehorses.

The use of Lasix in racehorses has become a topic of debate in Kentucky in recent years, as a movement to ban use of the drug has gathered momentum. Opponents of the drug have argued it creates an impression that performance-enhancing drugs are commonplace in Thoroughbred racing.

The new report shows that horses who were administered the drug at California’s Santa Anita Park bled into their airways more – not less – at the Breeder’s Cup World Championships in November.

Dr. Nathan Slovis, who led the study, admits the results are not what he expected to find. In a conference call with reporters, he warned against reading too much into the results. The study was only meant to find out whether racing without Lasix was causing any harm. Based on the study, the answer would appear to be no, though more research is needed.